Happy New Year, dear readers!
For the first time in the last 5 years, I was almost unplugged during my holidays in Sorsogon. I only worked the night of the 30th, otherwise, I would just check my emails and would never reply unless it’s very urgent (and I could count how many emails I sent via my mobile, a stark improvement). And I even missed a call from one of our execs! Finally, I didn’t work on my blog at all until today, January 1. I just couldn’t resist it – I found a book about Bikol history by Jaime T. Malanyaon published 25 years ago. I took some stories about the provincial governors of Sorsogon before the Second World War.
Just like the late Vicente Peralta, I was just amazed how these guys lived and lead the province. And one of them was an artist: Jose Figueroa. A couple of them were national officials, Vicente de Vera (Chief Commissioner of the Public Service Commission) and Teodisio Dino (Secretary of National Defense). And there are the likes of Gurang (Salvador Escudero Jr.) and Assisclo Jimenez who are known to be strict disciplinarian; the former was also a guerrilla leader. I just wonder if they would’ve last long with the current local politics.
While reading the stories of the former governors, and remembering other historical articles that I read, it gave me the impression that Sorsogon was one of the most prosperous provinces before the war. I am wondering when it started to go south for the province. I just hope and pray that the new generation of leaders will be mostly for public service than anything else.
I took my cousin for a 1.5-hr driving practice from the city around Bacon (I just hate calling it a district), Prieto Diaz, Gubat and back. She was a hesitant driver between the city proper and the Bacon interior (e.g. Bato, Gatbo, Sawanga) and wouldn’t let go of the brakes but floored the gas upon hitting the straight roads of Prieto Diaz. I wasn’t in the mood to take pictures and just enjoyed the beautiful view; I did see the entrance to the famous bakawan of Prieto Diaz. Next time (of course, the city has its own version as well in Brgy. Buhatan near Soreco II main office).
Talking of agriculture, my wife and I are trying to start composting in the former’s backyard. We brought 10kg of African Night Crawlers – every time we stopped, we had to clean up the cargo area because they tend to crawl outside of the sacks when it’s dark (it was so bad that we found earthworms under the front seats when we arrived). I truly believe, since more agricultural lands are being converted into subdivisions and commercial areas, agriculture will play a orimary role in the province in the next 10-20 years. We visited Philippine Coconut Authority, Provincial Agriculture Office and DENR to check what are the government programs we can avail. I realized there are lots of freebies the government can assist on, but it requires commitments on the side of the farmers. We did enroll for a possible grant on free organic fertilizer and just check it out; we won’t get it unless somebody backs out from the list (which the employee assured us that it happens every time). I plan to bring a couple of coffee seedlings to be planted on
our house’s frontyard. Sadly, we also realized how bad the recent Bagyong Nona hit the 2nd district. In the city mountains that you see along AH26, one will surely notice the different color of the coconut trees – a sure sign that it will take a while to recover. According to my in-law, around 5-6 months but 2nd district’s may be worse (after Bagyong Sisang, it took half a decade for the coconut industry in Sorsogon to recover). And I got the contact information of the provincial agriculture office, for everyone’s reference: Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Alegre Street (near the corner of Burgos Street), +63(917)893-4485.
We also dropped by Tiya Berning’s to buy some presents for our friends back in Manila. We struck a conversation with the owner about pili products in Kultura and Macao. They claimed that they are the sources of these products and already joined a food expo in Hongkong before. The latter is processed in Macao, but the owner heard that the buyer is planning to put up a processing plant in Subic. I just hope that this pushes through. My wife and I are also planning to raise Pili trees in the near future.
We are planning to come back at the middle of this quarter and quite excited about it.